We are now a decade into the digital music revolution, and everybody is on board. Everybody, except of course, those who have stood to profit the most from this — the major record labels.
Instead of realizing that this was the future in the same way that their customers did, the labels have ignored, sued, restricted, and DRMed digital music while futzing with CDs in a zillion ways (except, of course, significantly reducing prices) trying to stem the tide. Nothing — outside of iTunes, which was pared with the iPod — has worked. And iTunes has worked more for Apple than the major labels.
But now, there are rumblings that they are ready to throw in the towel, and embrace the 21st Century. And to be fair, we’re only 7 years into that century: they still had 93 years to go.
So the question on the table is this: are the major labels ready to start allowing unrestricted downloads of .mp3z? Files that will play on any device? Files that I can burn and rip and copy and trade and play on anything and open edit and do all of the same things that I was able to do with cassettes and albums and 8-Tracks and CDs?
I am going to go on a limb and say by the end of this year they will. At least one, maybe two. Will it stem what they call piracy? No. Will sales skyrocket? I think that they will.
Those two things are not incompatible. A lot of what they call piracy is actuually sampling: people trying music that they would never have bought anyways. That will continue, but for the last 30 years, people have been making me cassettes; CDs and mp3 discs, and every single one of the countless times that I have fallen in love with something (that I shouldn’t have fallen in love with), I’ve ran out and purchased it.
That’s the behavior that they’ve been trying to criminalize for the past decade, and that’s the behavior that they will be able to capitalize on if they just come on in and join the party.
C’mon in. The cover charge isn’t too bad (hopefully), and the music is pretty damn good. Oh, and has anybody seen DRM? He seems to have disappeared.